Story time

For future reference, here’s what happened to me and my knee this summer.

Once upon a time, back in 2003, I was sitting on my knees, putting stuff out of sight under my desk. I made an attempt to get up, and failed miserably. My left knee locked up in an uncomfortable position and hurt like hell.  Luckily for me, my mother was nearby fixing the curtains, so she could take me to my doctor, who at the time was an inconvenient 60 kilometers away. Don’t ask me how, but somehow my knee came back to some sort of working order, and I found a doctor closer to home.

Over the next five years, that knee would be mostly doing exactly what it should. But then I’d make a wrong move, and it’d all go wrong. It would ache and hurt and be annoying for a week or two, and then it’d be alright for another length of time. So that mostly wasn’t much of a problem.

Until April 16th of this year. Five minutes before the end of the last of the six games of volleyball for that night, everything broke down. And this time, it wasn’t over in a week. Nor was it in two. So about two months later I had an appointment with my doctor, and I told him more or less exactly the same I told him the last time I saw him for that particular knee two and a half years earlier, and this time I got an instant referral to the orthopedic surgeon at the hospital. (I guess that my trip to the emergency / weekend doctor’s service the previous saturday for a preemptive second opinion might have had something to do with it.)

June 3rd I woke up and my knee felt like it hadn’t felt in weeks. Figures. But since I had an appointment at the hospital, I went anyway. The x-ray showed nothing, and my knee wouldn’t be provoked into any kind of shenanigans. (Well, until the next morning…) But since I was having problems for such a long time, they set me up for a MRI-scan, as that might show more. And it did. My meniscus seemed to be fine, but there was indeed a loose bit of cartilage roaming around. Nothing that a little arthroscopic surgery couldn’t fix.

And that happened on July 21st. After they jammed a big freakin needle up my spine, I was laying there on that operating table while some people were poking around inside my knee. They took out the loose bits, cleaned up the place where it broke off, and cut of a piece of my meniscus, as it was hanging loose anyway. And as there was almost no cartilage left on the outer side of my knee, the surgeon thought it would be best to drill some holes in my femur, so some stem cells could flow out and form a layer of so called scar-cartilage. Well, he’s the expert, he knows what he’s doing and what’s best given the circumstances, so, ehm, who am I to argue.

As I was laying in the recovery room, one tiny bit of information began to work itself to the font of my brain, and started craving some attention. I wasn’t allowed to put any weight on my left knee for six weeks.As you might realize, that’s quite inconvenient if you live all by yourself, on the second floor, with no elevator.

So I did what any smart mamma’s boy would do, and I went on a camping trip and spend the next eight weeks at my parent’s. And while that was definitely a much better idea than trying to wing it here in Amersfoort, it wasn’t exactly a walk in the park either. After living (more or less) on my own for eight years now, it started to clash a few weeks in. I was glad to be back home, once I was allowed to stand on both feet again.

The recovery and revalidation process is mostly a cakewalk on easy street. Once the epidural and painkillers had worked their magic, I can’t really say it has hurt a lot. Okay, it still hurts a bit after that evil witch of a physical therapist has forced me through another boot camp worked her evil mojo on me, but if I take it slow, I can more or less do anything.

Earlier today, I went for the second check up with the surgeon who manhandled my knee. And he said that everything looked alright, it still might take some time until everything’s back to normal and I can play volleyball again, but there was no need for me to come back there again. It wasn’t as much an accomplishment as the day I was finally able to ditch those crutches, but it still was one of the best messages I got this year.

So there you have it: the whole story of what happened to my knee. Sure, I still need some more physical therapy to get my knee back to strength, but I think I’m mostly done with the whole episode. Time to start looking for some new opportunities, instead of being held back by some physical restrictions.